Chapter 1

The staccato boom of my boltgun reverberates among the dark confines of the forest, shattering the illusion of peace that had settled only minutes before. Another of the goat legged daemons tumbles back, a smoldering crater in its chest. Its death wail gurgles off to a throaty rasp as the massive wound I inflicted seeps tainted blood into the hungry soil. I step by its now still form, and pause to regard its twisted visage. A purple, vaguely human face stares blankly back at me, features slackened by the touch of death. Two curved horns sprout from its crown, ending in sharp, deadly tips. I glance down further and see a muscular chest coated with thick brown fur, already matted with drying blood. My lips turn into a sneer behind the cold ceramite of my helm as I recite the Litany of Hatred.

Of all things that exist in this unforgiving universe, the daemonic are what we astartes abhor the most. The cause of the Horus Heresy, the source of uncountable deaths, the reason mankind totters at the brink of extinction. I feel my twin hearts beat faster as the anger courses through my veins. In my mind, I swear an oath to the Emperor. I will purge this world of its corruption, of its taint.

The ground shudders as my boots stomp away from the carnage I have dealt.

"By Elune… two dozen satyrs… it massacred them…" the soft voice of a sentinel drifted towards the sensitive ears of Keina Stormsong.

"They didn't stand a chance," another whispered in awe.

Keina shushed them with a glance. They were her warriors, guardians of Darnassus and of the kaldorei people. They were sentinels, tasked with patrolling the borders of night elf domains, eliminating those who would dare intrude on sacred grounds unlawfully. Many decades of warfare toughened them to what they were today. Ambush masters, silent death from afar.

"Should we try to communicate with it?" Keina's second in command asked, gripping her curved bow tightly.

"No Mellia. Despite us having a common enemy, we still do not know its true intentions. We will watch and we will wait."

The sentinels nodded, and disappeared into the surrounding foliage, silently tracking this god of war.

The twisted creatures are even uglier up-close, I muse to myself. Yellow, hellish eyes glare back at me with deep hatred, as my visors focuses on its face. A deep throated bellow sounds from its mouth, struggling to free itself from my iron grip. It is a fruitless effort, and soon I grow bored of observing its features. I slam the daemon's face into a nearby tree, splattering chips of bone and brain matter as vulnerable flesh meets unyielding bark. I turn to face the others, circling around me warily like predators around prey. They do not realize that I am the predator.

My bolter booms as it sends exploding shells into the shocked daemons. They do not expect my instrument of destruction. One of the goat legged daemons wails, its stomach burst open by a detonating shell. Shredded entails fill the air. Another howls in agony, spinning back, arm torn from its shoulder. The third one doesn't utter a sound. Its eyes are dull, still staring in horror at its lower body, ten feet away.

Before they have a chance to react, I charge, my massive bulk scattering the warp spawn like bowling pins. A clawed arm lashes out at me. I seize it with a gauntleted hand, and snap the limp from its elbow joint. I savor the following scream. An additional one rushes at me head on. I swing my boltgun like a club and rectify its mistake. The daemon's neck snaps nearly a hundred eighty degrees, severing the spinal cord. I ignore the sagging body and punch another in the chest. I hear the ribs break before I see the torso caving in. The warp being is propelled backwards, tumbling into a broken heap. I swivel on my heel. The last one is fleeing. I raise my bolter to eye level. I tap the trigger lightly. My weapon answers gladly. A belching roar. An explosion of gore. The daemon staggers drunkenly forward without its head. It collapses.

"Elune preserve us, Elune preserve us, Elune preserve us." Mellia was murmuring fervently to herself.

The other sentinels were in no better shape. One looked ready to wretch at the slaughter they had just unintentionally witnessed. Even after decades of war, of senseless bloodshed, Keina still had never witnessed this sort of brutality before. They all had gasped collectively as the strange rectangular object this strange being carried roared like ten nightsabers. They had all been stricken as three of the satyrs fell among eruptions of blood and vitae, followed by the rest as the black clad god launched itself into their midst with surprising speed.

"What do we do now?"

Keina looked back and saw something she hoped she would never see again. Utter fear. Engraved on each and every one of her warriors' faces.

"We head back to Darnassus. Warn Lady Tyrande of this… this thing." Keina hoped her voice was as resolute as she wanted it to be.

A sickening crunch caused all of them to peek back at the scene before them. They immediately wished they hadn't. The thing slowly raised a massive foot, disentangling itself from the pulped upper remains of a satyr.

"Quickly sentinels," Keina urged.

A grating, metallic voice stopped them in their tracks.

"Show yourselves, I grow tired of playing hide and seek."